Saturday, November 9, 2013

Memorializing The Dead

Since the dawn of human history, we have memorialized the dead.  We have done so through various means whether we have built megalithic structures, mounds, mausoleums and great memorials or simply piled the bodies in mass graves or cremated the remains or even hoisted the bodies above the earth or dumped them into the sea.  Cemeteries can be found in every country with some boasting ornate sculptures, while others are private and small.  We have followed certain rituals out of love or superstition.

Superstition and religion have played integral roles in the process of dealing with those who have lost their lives.  Some cultures believed that they needed to burn the dead to liberate their spirits.  Others put the lost inside of tombs that they could seal off to keep them at rest.  Burying the dead just made common sense when people realized that decay would set in and stink.  Burying prevented the transmission of disease as well. Over time, cultures began adopting various rituals or symbols to honor the dead.  Graves were marked with stones and eventually names were added.  In countries like Egypt, tombs were elaborate and decorated with gold and jewels and filled with items that they believed the dead would need in the afterlife.  They also practiced embalming of the deceased.

This grave marker was found in Edinburgh, Scotland under a parking lot and served as the final resting place of a medieval knight:
Not quite as fancy as this medieval knight's tomb found at The Louvre:
This blog is dedicated to sharing the way we have memorialized the dead and what history lies with them.


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